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LSU and Tennessee, which both reached the NCAA Women’s Final Four last season, likely could repeat what they did at Alltel Arena in 2003: meet in the SEC Women’s Tournament final game on Sunday.
LSU is ranked No. 3 in the nation, while Tennessee, which was upset by Florida last weekend, was No. 8 coming into this week, and they are the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the tourney. Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt and Kentucky’s women’s teams make up the rest of the top half of the 12-team SEC and all figure to get bids to the NCAA Tournament, beginning in two weeks. Florida, which lost six SEC games, also has a win over LSU to its credit. Kentucky shocked Tennessee this season as well.
So, while LSU and Tennessee may be planning on another meeting, this tourney appears wide open. The motivation for the top seeds is maintaining their expected high seeding in the NCAA Tournament.
For Arkansas’s Lady ’Backs and the other five teams making up the lower half of the league, a berth in the NCAA Tournament can only be achieved by winning four games in succession this week at Alltel Arena.
The tournament tips off with the Lady ’Backs playing Ole Miss at noon Thursday (March 2). After starting out the conference season 3-0, injury-riddled Arkansas has fallen on hard times, losing eight games in a row, including 85-78 to Ole Miss at Oxford, Miss., on Sunday.
Session tickets are $10 for general admission and $15 for reserved. Tournament books are available for $45 (upper deck general admission) and $75 (lower deck reserved) through Ticketmaster (all Harvest Foods, 975-7575, www.ticketmaster.com) or the arena box office (975-9000).
The 2003 tournament, which saw LSU shock then No. 1 Tennessee in the final, drew 43,000 over the four days.
The top four seeds wait until Friday to play, while the other eight teams battle in first-round games from noon until late Thursday. Friday’s action begins at noon with four games. Saturday’s semifinals begin at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday’s final is at 5 p.m.